LAHORE: After a long spell of hot weather the much awaited first rain of the monsoon season did not prove to be a blessing for the people of Punjab’s provincial capital, where at least eight people died and a dozen got injured on Tuesday in various incidents of electrocution and roof collapse.
The rainfall that according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) was recorded to be 214-millimeter in 24 hours – the heaviest since 1980 – brought life in Lahore to a standstill, turning roads into virtual rivers, stranding commuters and causing loss of properties.
The rain started at midnight on Tuesday and a building collapsed soon after at around 01.36 am at the city’s Said Mitha Bazar area. A team of Rescue 1122 evacuated the victims – Umer Nisar, 24, and Abbas, 32 – and shifted them to Mayo Hospital Lahore where they were pronounced as ‘brought dead’.
In the second incident that took place at around the same time near MAO College Lahore, two men, including a policeman were electrocuted as they were passing through a road where a high-voltage wire had fallen. One of the victims was later identified as Constable Shahzaib Butt.
Man dies, nine injured in rain related incidents
In similar incidents, Ghulam Abbas, 30, was electrocuted to death at Mian Boulevard Gulberg at around 08.39 am; Akbar, 25, died at Mozang Chowk; Muhammad Adnan, 38, died near Abid Market area and Ishtiaq Ali was killed at his residence at China Scheme.
The incidents of caving-in of roofs and wall collapses also caused injuries to dozens. A wall collapsed at College Road Township, injuring Akbar, 48, Aslam, 30, Akram, 28. Another such incident took place UMT Road at Johar Town, causing injuries to Naseem Manzoor, 35, Asim Aziz, 10 and Qurat-ul-Ain 08.
In another couple of these incidents near Multan Road and College Road respectively, Rafique Bashir, 60, Asmat Rafique, 20, and Bashir Manzoor, 64, also sustained wounds. Sumaira Maqsood, 22, also sustained injuries when roof of her house collapsed at Bilal Ganj area
PHOTO via M Shahzad
In Tuesday afternoon, five members of a family including three women and a minor were trapped as wall of a basement collapsed near the city’s Bhaikay Wala Mor. Rescue 1122 rescued the family after a successful operation.
The rain also caused massive traffic jams in the city as knee-deep water gathered at almost all the chowks and underpasses with a number of vehicles getting stuck in deep water.
A huge sinkhole also appeared at the Mall Road near GPO Chowk. The water of the nearby areas started pouring into the depression and gathered into underground section of Orange Line Metro Train.
Motorists told Reuters that journeys that normally took five minutes were taking up to two hours because of flooded roads. "Whatever road you go on, it is filled with water. We are extremely distressed," motorcyclist Ahmed Shahzad said.
To deal with the situation, rescue teams, wardens of city traffic police Lahore (CTPL) and Lahore Police remained busy in rescue operations. DIG Operations Shahzad Akbar also ordered all the field officers to keep patrolling throughout the city.
The Rescue 1122 spokesman Jam Sajjad Hussain said: "Rescue officials using boats saved several persons in the outskirts of Lahore who were stranded in water."
Lahore recorded 214 millimetres (8.4 inches) of rain in the 24 hours up to 8 am on Tuesday, the heaviest in 38 years, Pakistan's chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told Reuters. He said a monsoon system would bring continued heavy rains for the next 24 to 48 hours.
“Though it was a heavy rain but not unusual as the department has recorded the highest rain of 330-millimeter and 207-millimeter at Lahore airport and city climatic stations, respectively, in 1980.”
Contradicting news reports of unprecedented rain, he pointed out that as per standard practice the PMD record rainfall with 24 hours intervals. Though, WASA has deployed some gadgets to measure rainfall in different areas of the city, but these gadgets are not as authentic and accurate.
He said the main purpose of the equipment is to inform the agency about water ponding. WASA data shows that the highest 243-millimeter rain was recorded at Lakshmi Chowk which is the highest rainfall since 1980.
However, the PMD does not consider this official rainfall measurement. The PMD has also issued warning that light to moderate rainfall with isolated heavy rainfall at isolated places is expected in the provincial capital and advised people to take care while travelling.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM REUTERS
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